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Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand: Topics in Chronicling America

Two shots in Sarajevo ignited the fires of war and drew Europe toward World War I. This guide provides access to materials related to the "assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Wreckage after bomb explosion in Sarajevo." (Top) "Arrest of Govrilo Princip." (Bottom). July 18, 1914. Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ), Image 6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Two shots in Sarajevo ignited the fires of war and drew Europe toward World War I. Just hours after narrowly escaping an assassin’s bomb, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, are killed by Gavrilo Princip. A month later, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia and Europe rapidly descends into chaos. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are killed by an assassin's bullets just hours after they escaped another assassination attempt. Gavrilo Princip is immediately arrested for the shooting and Nedjelko Cabrinovic is caught fleeing after the bomb attempt.
June 29, 1914 Martial law is declared in Sarajevo in the wake of the assassination. On the same day, Sir Thomas Barclay of England predicts the danger of war in central Europe is greatly lessened by the assassination.
July 23, 1914 Austria-Hungary issues an ultimatum to Serbia.
July 28, 1914 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. The declaration of war sets off a series of cascading declarations that lead to World War I.
October 26, 1914 Princip and Cabrinovic are found guilty of high treason along with twenty-two accomplices.
October 28, 1914 Princip and Cabrinovic are both sentenced to twenty years of hard labor, while four other conspirators are sentenced to death. Princip and Cabrinovic were both too young to receive the death penalty.
January 20, 1916 Nedjelko Cabrinovic dies in prison.
April 28, 1918 Gavrilo Princip dies in prison.